Nationals Baseball: VENT

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

VENT

Matt Williams makes about a dozen wrong calls. It only costs him a run but that ends up being enough.

73 comments:

Froggy said...

Terrible.

Alex L. said...

Brutal. I'm just numb right now.

Nick said...

That was humiliating to watch. MW should be fired immeditiately. Yeah we didn't hit that well, yeah Gio made some errors, but as a manager your job is to give your team the best chances to win. MW was clealry unable to do so for the entire series (besides the J-zimm decision). The last two games he was historically awful. Good thing we left Stras, Clip, AND Storen to rot on the bench just in case!

Zimmerman11 said...

Go Royals.

Anonymous said...

I just might end up punching the first Giants and or cardinals fan I see tomorrow/today right in the face... Boy will it be a sunny day in DC

Froggy said...

So, do we NOW have enough Matt Williams sample size?

Randy Knorr in 2015

A Fly Moses said...

Bringing in Barrett, in that situation, given who was available, was an absolute abomination. No two ways about it. (As is hitting Harper 6th, but that's another story.)

Zimmerman11 said...

Nats D was pretty terrible tonight too... Gio on the squibber, then c-blocking rendon on the bunt... LaRoche throwing to the wrong base AGAIN... Ramos not getting down in front of Barrett's pitch.

Pence makes a nice catch up against the wall to take away an XBH from Werth...

And it KILLS me we didn't have Zim available for more than a few ABs off the bench.

Anonymous said...

Got to have a righty face Posey in the 7th. Got to have your best pitchers pitch.

Anonymous said...

At least other players have someone TRYING to stop them. It is not like MW has any excuse.

This Is Washington!! said...

I truly don't even blame most of the loss on MW I put most of it on Gio going out and being a lame duck in the field... And on the mound for that matter

Anonymous said...

If Ryan Zimmerman isn't using crutches tomorrow, then there's zero explanation for giving him 4 at bats this series.

Anonymous said...

Fro Adam Kilgore's Twitter: "Williams on why he went with Thornton/Barrett: "Those are our seventh inning guys. ... We're not going to bring our closer in in 7th.""

Anonymous said...

Players make mistakes, managers manage those mistakes. MW managed this whole series like 'we've been doing it all year' and at least two of the losses are on him.

Barrett over Storen, Clippard, and as someone else said, even Strasburg? Barrett. Really?

WiredHK said...

Listen to his press conference right now. Barrett was in because "these are our 7th inning guys." That makes me want to punch something. I'm not parsing his words either. He means it. He is overmatched in managing bullpens. Period.

You cannot bring a rookie in in that spot. This is your season! My God...

Anonymous said...

MW, unfortunately, was learning on the fly...the hard way. Some of the players made stupid mistakes tonight. Hudson was pretty much right on with the majority of the players tonight.

Erich said...

FULL QUOTE
"Those are our seventh inning guys. ... We're not going to bring our closer in in 7th. It's not like I'm paid to actually use my brain." - Matt "Paint By Numbers" Williams

Zimmerman11 said...

Nats were a mirage all year... bunch of shrinking violets who only had the best record in NL because the New York Mets ankled for us.

Out of the postseason with Clip, Storen, and Strasburg never getting off the bench is inexcusable... poor defense... and no offense... did not deserve to win, and didn't!

JE34 said...

Go Royals indeed!

Werth and LaRoche were about 2-40 combined for the series. Zim at 1st couldn't have been worse than ALR.

The game was not managed like an elimination game. ARGH.

Nattydread said...

The game was destined to be a low scoring affair and Gio was a deer caught in headlights. Walking a batter in, BIG error and --- the killer --- blocking Rendon on a bunt. Why? Rendon sucks up bunts.

MW use of pitching? Call him out, but the offense is where the problem was.

Harper, you said it. There was no offensive explosion. Only Bryce, who now gets to go back to Las Vegas for winter.

Go Royals.

Nick said...

The Nats ended an elimination game with their three best pitchers realistically available and rested on the bench. Strasburg, Clippard, and Storen didn't pitch in an elimination game while Soriano, Blevins, Thornton did.

A Fly Moses said...

Honestly, though, it needs to be said: the "rookie manager"/"learning on the fly" thing is garbage. EVERYONE could tell Barrett was an insane choice there

Zimmerman11 said...

Mike Morse... FTW! Celebrating a postseason series win.

Anonymous said...

@fly moses-sorry the concept of MW crapping the bed escapes you...He obviously WAS learning on the fly since he made the choices he did. Aside from his odd decisions, a lot of the players played like Hudson said they would.

Nick said...

The rookie manager excuse is bullshit. It's not even an excuse. Everyone with a brain could see that Thornton should not have faced Posey and Clippard needed to come in to face him (or Stras or Storen). There's a difference between learning on the fly and being incompetent

Anonymous said...

Matt Williams needs to own up to his mistakes. The bats were generally absent, but his poor management of the bullpen was a decisive factor in two losses. Own up to it already!

Anonymous said...

Bringing in Storen on Saturday wasn't egregious. Bringing in Barrett tonight was. The bats didn't produce, but Williams' relief decisions tonight let the game slip away.

A Fly Moses said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A Fly Moses said...

I'm gonna be honest...I have no idea what you're saying here. Being a rookie manager is neither a reason nor an excuse for his late inning management, unless by "rookie" you mean "has never seem a baseball game before".

(To be fair, I'm being hyperbolic, but the main point here is, that mistake was too basic to use "learning on the fly"as an excuse. It was too obvious for that.)

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Harper keeps batting 6th next year.

Anonymous said...

Cal Ripken for manager 2015!

Anonymous said...

Hitting Harper 6th came back to bite us in the playoffs. There's a reason he was criticized for that. Failing to make lineup changes when the team's not hitting. Continuing to use Ramos despite struggles. Bullpen management. Choosing Barrett over proven postseason performer in Det against a left heavy lineup. Not using Zim. Getting thrown out. This could go down as an all-time worst job by a manager in the PS.

blovy8 said...

Whenever someone says something derogatory about the Nationals, it's true.

Anonymous said...

The real problem was lack of any offense from Span,Werth, Laroche, Ramos, and Desmond. You cannot win when half the team is hitless. Why not change the batting order? All that MW wants to talk about is "his" plan. Well his "plan" just ended the season. Using the often quipped definition of insanity, MW plan was insane.

JWLumley said...

Yup, paint by numbers. Just awful managing. There's an old baseball maxim, "Don't get beat with your second best pitch." I think there should be a managerial maxim, "Don't get beat with your 6th best reliever." Matt Williams should be fired and maybe Rizzo too. I know that might sound like a crazed MASN or WaPo commentor, but seriously, you entrusted this team to a rookie manager who had never managed at any level? This team dripping with talent. Bryce Harper should have never hit 6th, never. When the team struggled to score runs, perhaps shaking things up would have been the right move, but at the very least Ryan Zimmerman should have gotten more than 4 AB's for a team struggling to score runs. Hell, Danny Espinosa got nearly as many AB's as Ryan Zimmerman.

Also, MLB needs to step in and instruct umpires that they are no longer allowed to call check swings strikes from behind the plate. It takes 2 seconds, get it right. You cannot watch whether the pitch is a strike and whether a batter swung at the same time. I am somewhat of a purist, but I'm ready for a machine to call balls and strikes. Desmond deserved another pitch and Ramos could have been hitting with 2 on and 1 out instead of 1 on and 2 out. Who knows, if Desmond is on, maybe Harper gets something to hit.

Finally, all of you Harper doubters can suck it. The kid is the real deal, which I have said from day one and never wavered on. In a normal stadium, instead of the national park they played in with its dense cold air, he probably had 2 more dingers. The one he hit to the track in his 1st AB and the one he hit Monday into right center.

But Matt Williams, I'm just dumbfounded. He out Yost'ed Ned Yost. No way Thornton should've pitched to Posey, no way Sandoval should've hit left-handed, these things shouldn't have happened.

Rizzo doesn't have a lot of work to do this offseason, but he should find a new manager. Deal Span for a catcher who can either catch or hit because Ramos is not what was promised. He can't stay healthy, doesn't frame pitches well, doesn't call a particularly good game and is Molina-esque on the basepaths. The Nationals need Souza in the lineup next year. Werth isn't going anywhere, but it's clear that while serviceable, his prime is gone. Desmond is too inconsistent to be counted on and Zim can't stay healthy. The Nats need another bat to compliment Rendon and Harper. I think it's Souza, but perhaps they can find someone to play 2B to be that bat.

This sucks.

JWLumley said...

Also, another thing that will be overlooked. Ramos not getting Harper to third with no one out. I'm no huge fan of small ball, but given his seriously diminished power Ramos is pretty much Lobaton at this point, he should have bunted if necessary. Get Harper to third and give Cabrera the chance to hit a sac fly.

JWLumley said...

And another thing, leaving Det off the postseason roster against a lefty heavy lineup looks even more ridiculous. Wouldn't it have been nice to have Det to come in to face Sandoval with runners on? Especially an extreme groundball guy like Detwiler? But he wasn't there. It's one thing to get beat, it's another to beat yourself.

Jimmy said...

Firing Mike Rizzo for hiring a manager that does what 90% of what other managers do in regard to bp order is a little bit of an overreaction.

Strasburger said...

Now that everyone blew off their steam in the immediate aftermath... my last post for six months. Which will focus on some random things I noticed.

First of all:

@JWLumley

I could not agree more on Harper. I never hated on his ability, but frankly the kid acted like a complete tool (I'm 24 and would never get a beer with him, even if he wasn't Mormon). However, last night, he literally put the team on his back and acted like he had been there before. That ball was absolutely destroyed and I was jumping around like a five year old. To do that, in that situation is absolutely massive, and completely redeems him in my book. I am really excited to see how this carries over into next year.

Secondly, to National television: I will never watch you again when you broadcast the Nationals. I will literally plug in my radio and watch a soundless T.V. for away games like an old school 70 year old, because I cannot STAND the darling Giants bias. When Harper hit that homer, Joe Buck was just as quiet as the Giants fans. Am I crazy or did anyone else notice this? As a DC sports fan you are probably used to this, but how are the Nats not a lovable team? Literally was about to throw my T.V. The mid-inning interview of Hudson was enough to make me jump. Call the game harder in the 5th inning..
*Also, ads during a game?! Is this what the future holds? I hate my generation, in that case.


Now, a more real analysis:

There is no excuse using barrett there, but there is absolutely zero excuse for pitching him against Buster Posey. Am I the only one here who also thinks pulling Gio at that point to give Nate a PH with a RISP was a mistake? Gio, at least to me was starting to deal and looking settled in.

To the analysis that Rizzo should be fired, I could not disagree more and actually find that humorous. Harper has said again and again, the only time managing REALLY matters is in the playoffs which is why teams like the cards under Matheny have so much success. This is on MW, and Barrett (because he did, after all, throw the wild pitch). Rizzo should get GM of the year in my opinion, are you kidding me?! Rotation of the year (and one of the best of the past decade), strong line-up from 1-9. You can't just assume guys will lose their juice all the sudden when the fall starts. He gave us the absolute BEST CHANCE to win with this roster. I still think its the best in the majors when talking about top to bottom depth. Its a game of inches in the playoffs and we made several mistakes. No one other than Bryce stepped up on O (again), and we lost. It is what it is.

I'm proud of our pitchers across the board with the exception of Barrett (who we all agree should never have been used and looked shook up the second he walked out there).

... I'll never forget that Ump strike call on desmonds check-up, but what can you do? You watch this team religiously for almost six months, read every article, and this is what they do to you. You feel some hope after a weak game three win, and we come out 99percent not playing to win.

At least I know I am commiserating with people who put as much of themselves into this team as I did. Have a good winter everyone, Go caps/zards!



Anonymous said...

Barrett shit in his hat. That kid should have never been out there!!!

JWLumley said...

@Jimmy That's the thing, 90% of managers don't do what MW did. 90% of managers don't hit Bryce Harper 6th all year. 90% of managers get Zim more than 4 PA's.

@Strasburger If you'd ever met the kid, he's just that, a kid. Most of us who have advanced well beyond that age, can look back on our early 20's and both laugh and shudder. As for Rizzo, a big part of his job is hiring a manager. So far he's hired Jim Riggleman (bad), Davey Johnson (mixed bag, but ultimately poor decisions directly led to 2012 NLDS loss), Matt Williams (bad, so far). Also, I didn't say he definitely or even probably should be fired, just that it should be examined. GM's are not like Mike Trout, there's literally hundreds of people who could potentially do a very good job.

JE34 said...

@Strasburger - JOIN US. You get to yell at kids when they walk on your grass, and you get to wear black socks and sandals with shorts pulled up to your nipples.

I've been happily relying on Charlie and Dave most of the year. Knowing that I missed Joe Buck (Mister Bland, with the no vocal inflection, regardless of situation) makes me feel that much better. Side note: turning off the TV altogether and being totally reliant on Charlie & Dave is great for one's kids, b/c it makes them shut their yaps and listen for a change.

Just imagine Joe Buck's demeanor when the Cardinals do poorly! His monotone droning will slow down a bit, he'll choke back a tear, then he'll continue to give America a headache.

National media outlets don't really care about the Nats...yet. Red Sox and Yankees they ain't, in that regard. Nice that Rendon and Harper took the opportunity to showcase what they can do though. Just imagine if they batted 2-3 in the order...

Strasburger said...

@JWLumley yeah I know you didn't say that about Rizzo, it was in reference to another post. I was only commenting, and agreeing with you on Harper. Even so, Rizzo could not have forseen MW being a bad manager, its not like he can bag him after game two. Also, he has been sharp on managers, with little tolerance. He bagged Riggleman after their quibble, Hired Davy (who got manager of the year 2012) and the Davy bowed out after his one bad year. I assume Rizzo will give MW another year. MW probably, hopefully, learned a lot from this series. He was playing it safe using innings roles, and I bet you next time around (if we make it there) he will hopefully play to win.

Froggy said...

Ok, it's a new day...I've changed my baby's diaper and had my coffee...

...and I still fell like MW should be gone.

No need to rehash too many things as the points have been made by others here. We all might like a lot of our players, but facts are they just weren't consistent when it mattered. When bats go ice cold (Werth, LaRoche) you must make a change. This is the playoffs for Crissakes! There is NO tomorrow Matt Williams! If you have to treat the game like an All Star game and pitch your starters one inning a piece then you do so. Why Zimmerman didn't PLAY yesterday is beyond me.

Thank God for the Kid. I was hard on him earlier in the year when I thought he was pouting, but goodness did he carry the team through the playoffs or what! I'm with JW, Bryce Harper must bat 2-5 for the rest of his career as a Nat.

Still, MW needs to do the right thing and resign. Randy Knorr in 2015!

JWLumley said...

@Strasburger Yes, join us, yelling at kids to get off your lawn is somewhat cathartic. Also, with regards to the National TV. I actually thought Smoltz did a good job. He was really very adept at diagnosing pitch sequencing and how Werth was basically getting himself out by not jumping on the piped first pitch fastballs he was seeing. Also, unlike FP, he was usually right about what was coming and what the Giants were trying to do with pitch sequencing. He even got on the umpires a little bit. I was at the first two games, but I liked Smolts in games 3 and 4. Not sure who he was working with, but that guy was terrible. Very much Buck-esque.

Section 222 said...

For the record, Joe Buck wasn't at the Nats game last night. It was called by Matt "that ball was ABSOLUTELY crushed" Vasgersian and John Smoltz. Buck along with Harold Williams and Tom Verducci did the Cards-Dodgers game. I think they are doing the NLCS and World Series too.

Matt Williams has some soul searching to do. But so do our seasoned vets Span, Werth, and ALR.

ocw5000 said...

Matt Williams isn't going anywhere. Yes he Yosted the game last night, but he is not a terrible manager. He's about average. Fire him (after one year in which he won the most games in the league?!?!) and replace him with who exactly? Randy Knorr? We're sure he's better because why? Bruce Bochys don't exactly grow on trees.

This series was incredibly tight. The final run tally was 9-9. I'm not good at math, but I think that means our Pythagorean W-L should be 2-2 right now. One more out in the 9th of Game 2 and that's what it is.

The problem was not Matt Williams, it was the terrible, terrible hitting. The 3-4 hitters went 2-for-35. How would the series look if Posey and Sandoval went 2-for-35? All year the Nats scuffled against starting pitching and beat up on bullpens. Tough way to win when you're matched up against the team with the best bullpen ERA in baseball.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Williams is that he stubbornly sticks to his "plan" in spite of what stats and circumstances in front of him suggest. I never expected him to use "Ace" Strasburg last night; that would have been far too radical for by the book Matt. But it's inconceivable that he used Barrett over Clippard in the 7th with the season on the line. His reasoning, that Barrett is "the seventh inning guy," is infuriating because with the season on the line you want your best available pitcher to handle the most crucial situations. Barrett had the shakes in his game 2 appearance--Williams had gotten himself tossed by then, but presumably he was still watching tv while pounding buds in the clubhouse, so he should have known not to trust his season with the rookie.

Also, why not have Ramos bunt Harper to third in the top of the 5th? Ramos proved he can bunt in game 3. Letting Ramos hit away in that situation again shows MW managing an elimination game like a mid-April tilt against the Mets. It's true that everyone not named Harper didn't show up to hit last night, but with the season on the line, MW didn't maximize the Nats chances to win the game. That failure is on MW, nobody else.

Nick said...

Smoltz jumped on Werth for not being aggressive enough, despite the fact that Werth was getting deep into counts and hitting the ball hard. Go back and look at his spray chart from this series. Dude had bad BABIP luck, which can very much happen in a 4 game series. He still put together quality at bats throughout the series, unlike other Nats players with subpar numbers. And really, that's what you ask for.

Kenny B. said...

"Those are our 7th inning guys..." You've got to be freaking kidding me with this. It was not just "the 7th inning," it was the third to last inning of the season. These are not the dog days where you're slogging through until the stretch run, this is it; all she wrote. You may never be here again. But hey, at least Strasburg, Storen, and Clippard are all well rested for March, and Barrett can feel good about his "role." Way to think ahead, Matt. Ugh.

At least the two best offensive performers in October were really young: Harper & Rendon. That bodes well for the future. If those two had been batting together in the order it probably would have been enough to carry the team through this series.

DezoPenguin said...

*sigh* Just an ugly way to go.

Like everyone else, I am bewildered at MW's thinking. On the other hand, let's also look back at 2012 and at how Davey going outside the box using Jackson was excoriated. (And should have been, but you see what I mean.) The bottom line is, as foolish as the decisions were, I don't know of other managers who'd make any different call. Would Bochy have used his closer or his ace set-up man in the 7th? I strongly doubt it. Referencing the other NL playoff managers, would Matheny or Mattingly? Would Ned-freaking-Yost?

So really...if every other manager in all of baseball would have made the same bad decision in the same circumstance, can you really say that this loss is on Williams? There's a competitive advantage to be gained by getting a manager who can think outside the box in the same way as Beane was able to gain a competitive advantage in the early Moneyball years, but when NO ONE exploits that advantage I don't think we can blame the manager for the loss.

No, the plain fact is, that when we lose two games 3-2 and one game 2-1 in 18 innings, the blame falls squarely on the players who did not hit and did not score runs. I am enheartened by the fact that Bryce stepped up and hit well in the playoffs; hopefully if he can keep from wrecking his body, things will go well.

Unfortunately, this is the weakness of the Nationals' roster as currently constructed: we have above-average players at every position but 2B, but Rendon and Bryce are the only ones with the potential to become stars. The 2014 Nationals basically needed for Rizzo to throw the money truck at Robinson Cano before the season (yes, this would likely have been a horrible decision long-term, particularly in the non-DH league; I speak *only* of 2014).

Unfortunately, superstar hitters do not just walk through the door, and unless something dramatic happens in the offseason, the 2015 Nats are going to be very similar to the 2014 Nats, a team designed to do very well in the regular season and hope that we end up with more games like Game 3 and less like Games 1 and 4. Probably the best fit on the market for the Nats would be Pedro Sandoval (signed for 3B, moving Rendon back to 2B), but his bat isn't what it was back in 2011. Victor Martinez isn't grabbing a first baseman's glove any time soon and isn't likely to repeat his career year. There are no easy answers.

On the other hand, the Nationals are almost certainly going to be back in the middle of the playoff hunt next year, with a starting rotation as good as anyone's and a lineup considerably better than the Mets, Braves, and Marlins. So at the least, we're likely to be a lot happier as fans than people rooting for, say, the Brewers!

JWLumley said...

@Nick I can see your point, but if you pretty much know you're going to get a first pitch fastball down the pipe, then it's not a matter of hitting the ball, but rather a matter of hitting the ball out of the park. I'm not sure Smoltz came right out and said it, but that's the take away I had. Yes, Werth put together some good AB's. Yes, LaRoche gave away a lot of AB's, but neither of them actually produced. Werth also had some weak contact and some bad AB's too and while he did some longish flyballs, it's not like balls were scorched right at people. Perhaps that's a tough standard, but the opportunity was there for him to try to hit the ball out of the park.

Anonymous said...

Kilgore has a good column on MW's seventh-inning "strategy": http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2014/10/08/examining-how-matt-williams-used-his-bullpen-in-game-4/

Letting Thornton face Posey; using Barrett at all (and particularly against Sandoval)--it makes no friggin' sense.

Chaz R said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chaz R said...

MW was just plain awful. Thornton pitching to Sandoval- what?! No Clip, no Stas, no Storen- what?! How can he possibly justify using Barrett by saying his our 7th inning guy?! I mean, these just seem like rookie manager gaffs.

Gio made some bad mistakes, but of course the main problem was the offense- what happened to the offense?!

JWLumley said...

@Dezo Bochy used Casilla and Romo in non-save situations in Game 2. So I think there's a good argument to be made that yes, other managers likely would have handled it differently. Comparing Williams to Matheny and Mattingly is a race to the bottom as Matheny almost managed the Cardinals out of the playoffs and Mattingly has been widely criticized for his in-game management. Sure, the offense didn't show up, but Williams did absolutely nothing to address this. Davey may have made a bad decision in bringing in EJax, but he also made a good decision in using NN as a reliever. His big error was using Storen 3 days in a row and then not going to get him sooner. Point being, there's way more issues with MW than just who he used/didn't use. Poor lineup construction finally bit him in the butt.

Anonymous said...

Hahahaha

Jay said...

I vote blow the whole thing up. I know it's way overkill and I'm only half serious. The concern with Rizzo is that he seems stubborn and unable to adjust on the fly. MW looks way overmatched to me. The whole "those are our 7th inning guys" is completely laughable and that is what got Yost fired in Milwaukee and almost fired in KC. The concern with MW is that he doesn't seem to be learning anything. The only time he did anything remotely outside the box is with expanded rosters. So that means for exactly 1 month out of the year MW is a servicable manager. If you're not going to throw Strasburg in the 6th or 7th inning last night then when are you going to do it? At least, he'll be fresh and ready for his next start - in April.

Also, the offense was beyond horrible. Span reverted to form. I really don't want to watch him leadoff next year and do the same thing. Werth has no business batting third. He's gonna be 36 next year and is almost immobile in the OF. He has zero power. I'd trade him and pay his entire salary just to make him go away. He acts like he is the great Jedi master of baseball and he no showed in the playoffs. Of course, he only had 16 HRs this year, so maybe my expectations were too hight. ALR was awful. I love the guy, but is anyone going to miss him next year when he's playing for some one else? Ramos ... why was he in the game. He hasn't hit for 6 weeks. Why were we expecting that to change now? I'd sign Russell Martin and trade him. Not getting in front of that wild pitch (at least not even trying to - he just tried to back hand it). Ramos is not the future at Catcher. At least we have Norris. Oh wait we traded him for the basketcase, can't field a grounder, Gio. He tried to single-handedly lose the game in that second inning on mind numbing misplays. He said after the game he thought he "did well except for the little things". Guess those little things don't matter much in the offseason.

I'm done venting. Don't know that I feel better. It's hard to watch over and over. And yes, the Nats definitely have a bad reputation around the league now. They're viewed as soft.

John C. said...

Well, that sucked. To give up 3 runs where the first 2 scored on a "rally" that included one single hit out of the infield, then wild pitch in the ultimately decisive run, is a bad way to leave a season. Not as bad as 2012, but bad. Must get better.

And the ability to get better is why I think the calls to dismiss Williams are way premature. He absolutely screwed the pooch yesterday in his midhandling of the bullpen. He is part of what must get better. And I think that he's earned the chance to do it.

It's not just that I think the reflexive "OMG this person messed up FIRE HIM!!!" school is a terrible way of running any organization (which I do). It's that coming in last year Williams identified three weaknesses of the team (baserunning; stopping the opponent's running; team defense), addressed them, and improved them - in some cases (stopping the opponent's running game) dramatically. Based on that ability I think he gets to come back and show that he can apply the same lessons going forward, and to himself.

Nick said...

John C, normally I am with you 100%. After watching years of the 'Skins replace coach after coach, firing someone just because of a single mistake or bad few games is overkill. But I think the issue with MW is fundamental, and it has been there all season. I would have called for him to be fired even had we won game 4. He consistently made suboptimal decisions, and his post game comments reflect a terribly flawed way of thinking.

And again, he has proven himself as a shaky in game tactician all season. This is not a new thing, and it's not like he made all sorts of adjustments throughout the season that got us to the playoffs. The fact that he uses splits against a single pitcher to make decisions (in the case of starting ALR over Zim in G3) is egregious. Letting yoru three best relievers rot on the bench because "the 7th inning is Barrett's" is beyond egregious. I get that people can improve and get better, but if someone can actually make a decision like that and use THAT as "logic," they should have never been managing a big league club in the first place.

Again, it's not MW's fault entirely that we lost this series, we know this. But in the two elimination games, he did about the worst job humanly possible, continuing a pattern of puzzling in game decisions. Hire someone that understands splits and leverage.

JWLumley said...

A lot of people seem to defend MW based on "results". Okay, let's look at results. Span was much better this year than he's ever been. Rendon blossomed as well, but since it was his first full year in the big leagues, some of that could/should be attributed to that. Werth had a markedly down year for him, but that could be age. LaRoche had a better year than last, but limped down the stretch and had a very mediocre year for him. Desmond had a much worse year than he's had since 2011. Harper had a down year, but largely due to injury. Ramos had a down year. Zim had a down year, largely due to injury. But how much impact does a manager have on regulars, not much methinks.

Now look at the bench guys, which I think managers have a lot more impact on. Every single one of them not named Kevin Frandsen had a down year and Kevin Frandsen was basically his usual replacement-level self.

Detwiler, had perhaps his worst year since 2011. Blevins regressed, Soriano regressed. Clippard was himself, Storen was better, Barrett--despite last night--was a nice revelation. Stammen was himself, but maybe a little worse.

By and large, the bench players and bullpen guys when viewed individually had down years. There wasn't a regular or starting pitcher who improved in which any of their improvement could be traced back to MW as was the case with Desmond and Morse with Davey in 2012. This is a talented team, easily the most talented in baseball and the results Matt Williams got out of them should cost him his job.

Froggy said...
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Froggy said...

Funny how we hear the same type of excuses for Matt Williams / Rizzo now as we heard in 2012. In particular, 'the team is built for the future' and 'he earned the opportunity to manage next year', yadda, yadda. I got news for you, the future was yesterday, Saturday, and Friday, and that team was the best we could have put out there. We simply did not perform with the bats and our manager will not change.

I say blow it up and clean house otherwise we will perform like this in 2015, 2016.

Anonymous said...

Bad pitching decisions could be overcome if there was any hitting at all.
The numbers for Desmond, Ramos, Span, Werth and LaRoche, collectively, Avg.: .101, 0 XBH, 0 RBI.

nuff said.

Nick said...

Froggy, this is not on Rizzo. Rizzo built this team, and it's a damn good team. You don't touch the front office right now (or after next year for that matter) because of losing a 5 game series where the run differential was 0.

Froggy said...

Nick, I'm not blaming Rizzo for what happened in the game, but I will blame him if he sticks by his guy and waits for the future to show up (like 2012). Bottom line is, Stasburg, Storen or Clippard should have been used to set up Thornton for Sandoval, the NEXT inning.

The series was lost when MW took ZNN out in the 9th on Saturday. MW has managed the pitchers and pen terribly all year, and it culminated with 'our 7th inning guy' Barrett instead of any of the above.

Schoenfield's piece sums it up nicely: http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/52411/as-always-giants-find-a-way-to-win

Anonymous said...

I think Froggy has nailed it. This was the best team possible to field, and is likely the top of the mountain.

The window on this team is closing fast, despite public narrative. I'm quite worried that in a world of increased revenue, the Lerners really will stand pat and force the Nats to the back half of the $ pack.

Who plays second next year? Danny? Oh boy... Clippard, Jordan, Fister all probably hitting the road in the next few years... LaRoche is gone, Zimmerman to first, but can he stay healthy... Werth covering less and less ground in RF...

There are a lot of holes opening up, and not a lot of high-level talent in the minors to make up for it. If Giolitto doesn't pan out, lord help us all.

Nick said...

Froggy, that is incorrect. Taking Zimmermann out in the 9th was the correct move, one of the few MW made all series. You can look at study after study, pitchers are not very good their 3rd and especially 4th time through the order. This is true for Jordan Zimmermann as well. His 3rd/4th time through the order he is simply not the same pitcher. The right move was made, the process was right, the results weren't there. Pretty much everything else MW did, the rationale was incorrect, and the decisions were poor.

Yes, Rizzo hired MW, and he should catch some heat for it. But considering how well this team is constructed, you can't even think about letting Rizzo go.

Max David said...

I'd like to see how this series was different if we had our 2 best hitters Rendon & Harper hitting 2nd & 3rd. Imagine if Bochy hit Pence 2nd & Posey 6th?? Ludicrous, right!? But that's exactly what Matt did!

Froggy said...

Nick, respectively disagree. I guess I have more faith in ZNN than you do. I was at ZNN no hitter and this game and at the time and retrospectively it would have turned out better.

Froggy said...

...also not advocating getting rid of Rizzo. Just admission that he and MW eF'd up.

Zimmerman11 said...

I had a dream that Stras came in for the 9th and the crowd went wild, and then I woke up becuase I realized the game wasn't in DC :)

MW must have been afraid to tell SS that he wasn't going to pitch game 5...but it really boiled down to he was saving Clip and Storen for the 8th and 9th...which sucks. I totally blame the bats going silent. I'm very excited to see Harper and Rendon's progression next year... and I'd pray for better health too, but we have been really very lucky in that way so I won't press my luck.

Things might not have turned otu differently but I would feel much better if he had called on Clip, Storen and Stras last night.

John C. said...

As I said earlier, MW screwed the pooch in his bullpen handling in Game 4. Stipulated. Although I agree with a couple of his moves (Game 2; Roark ahead of Strasburg last night), most were head-scratchingly bad. The explanation makes no sense.

I also give MW credit for the good things that he's done. The baserunning, offensively and defensively. The use of defensive shifting, then responding to player concerns to modify them and put the players back in their comfort zones.

I think many tropes on him are foolish. The batting order - I can make just as good an argument that batting six has been good for Harper's development as those that say it's held him back. The difference is that I admit it's just rank speculation. His handling of the bullpen didn't maximize the chance to win every game, but it did get the Nationals to the playoffs with a bullpen that was both effective and well-rested. There's a Fangraphs article on the status of the bullpen if you're curious.

Sad that he didn't maximize the bullpen once they were in the NLDS. Many, if not most, managers would have made the same mistakes - but that's not an excuse. He needs to learn from this. If you already hate him, you don't believe he can. But he's adjusted in other areas, so I'm OK with him being brought back for another year.

As an aside, how can people assume that using Roark ahead of Strasburg was a bad call. There were some commenters not long ago who were calling on Roark being ahead of Strasburg in the rotation. His numbers are in the same range as Strasburg (better in H, WHIP, ERA; about the only area that Stras is better is strikeouts). And he has recent experience at coming out of the bullpen where Strasburg does not. Stras hasn't come out of the bullpen since his freshman year of college, and has a long warmup routine. He also has some history of struggling in the first inning - not a good mix for bullpen work.

For yesterday, out of the bullpen, Roark was the better option